Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Block Party 2018: 'Bloktoberfest' is coming to Wigan on 20th and 21st October

Pixel pushers rejoice - the next Block Party has been confirmed for Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st October 2018. This year, Britain's premier teletext festival will venture 'up north' to Wigan STEAM for a weekend of VBI, Videotext and Viewdata jollities. The fifth iteration of the Block Party is dubbed 'Bloktoberfest'. It will be a celebration of homebrew teletext, playing host to pixel art workshops as well as games and presentations much like those seen at Block Party Cambridge in 2017.

Register FREE on Facebook or Eventbrite


What will be there?

  • Resident Teletext Artists: we have teletext artists you can chat to, see at work and get tips from before trying teletext art for yourself!
  • The broadcast teletext archive: services spanning 42 years of actual teletext pages, all recovered from domestic videotape. Find out how it’s done and see pages from the dawn of teletext.
  • A closed-circuit teletext system: teletext as you remember it: a TV set with four channels where and you can press ‘Text’ on the remote on each channel and enter its teletext service!
  • Teefax: an online teletext service updated by enthusiasts which, using the Raspberry Pi, you can pipe into your teletext TV at home and watch teletext. It’s also available online!
  • Teletext hardware, enhanced teletext and live subtitling


Who will be there?

Carl Attrill (@that_other_Carl): A long-time teletext artist whose work makes up for its rarity with its originality and skill in the medium.  

Alistair Cree: Alistair’s online teletext page editor supports enhanced, or Level 2.5, teletext, which is no mean feat given the complexities of the medium! Find out what Level 2.5 teletext is, how it works and what it can do.

Dan Farrimond: Credited with keeping the medium alive during its wilderness years, digital artist Dan is one of the UK’s most experienced teletext artists and teletext art’s premier cheerleader.  

Horsenburger: Steve is an ex-Teletext Ltd. teletext artist and currently the most prolific artist in the medium, having created hundreds (thousands?) of teletext pages of graphics. Come and see an expert at work, then try your hand at teletext art yourself!  

Peter Kwan: Peter worked in the teletext industry throughout its lifetime providing teletext hardware and software solutions to the broadcasters.  

Raquel Meyers: Text mode expert Raquel is a winner of the International Teletext Art Festival's Special Achievement Award, and has conducted studies on the contextual history of teletext as an artform.  

Jason Robertson: The Teletext Archaeologist will be around to chat and show the broadcast teletext archive recovered from domestic videotapes from the last 42 years. Want to see teletext from a particular channel on a certain year? Just ask!

What are the opening times?

Saturday 20th October 2018: Doors open 12PM, close at 4PM. Sunday 21st October 2018: Doors open 10AM, close at 4PM.

What and where is Wigan STEAM?

Wigan STEAM is a tech/arts hub in Wigan town centre, located just a few minutes' walk from Wallgate and North Western train stations. (Note: Wigan Bus Station is currently closed for development but a normal bus service still operates to various points in the town centre.)

Open Wigan STEAM location in Google Maps
Open Wigan STEAM location in Google Streetview

STEAM, otherwise known as the Chipboard Paradise, is home to a suite of Raspberry Pis, an art space, maker space and gallery. The latter will display a tech graphics exhibition by Dustin Lyon entitled 'The Lonely Sea' throughout the Block Party weekend.

Where can I park?

There is ample parking on Library Street just outside the STEAM Hub in addition to a medium sized outdoor car park at the bottom of the street. There are also two large car parks in the vicinity, the Grand Arcade (<5mins walk) and the Galleries (<10mins walk). Click links for opening times. For those looking to stay overnight, both hotels have lots of parking spaces. Here is a map of parking areas in Wigan town centre with opening times.

What hotels are nearby?

There are at least two major hotels in Wigan town centre: Premier Inn (<5mins walk, prices start at £40/nt) and Mercure (<10mins walk).

Should I bring my own laptop?

Yes, please bring your laptops if you have them! We'll have computers set up in case you really can't, though.

What's the schedule? When can I get tickets?

Admission is free and you can turn up on the day. We would appreciate if you could get register here to let us know if and when you're coming so we can gauge numbers. Further information will appear here and on the Teletext Facebook Group as the schedule is developed and exhibitors are confirmed.

Where can I see more pictures and artwork from previous Block Parties?


I have another question that wasn't answered here!

Feel free to email Dan at: hello [at] teletextart [dot] co *dot* uk

Monday, 31 October 2016

Teletext Fest/Block Party 2016 retrospective for Digitiser2000

It's a new article; read it! Goujon John shall continue staring at you until you do so.

Can’t be swayed by his piercing gaze? Then perhaps you’ll be interested in this little run-down of events at the first Text Fest in Cambridge earlier this month. It’s more of an extended diary entry than a review, but that didn’t stop us all reading (watching?) Bridget Jones’ effort.

Disclaimer: the article linked below contains zero references to Bridget Jones. (Whoopee.) 

Teletext Digitiser Festival retrospective at Digitiser2000

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Teletext Art from Block Party Cambridge 2016

Block Party 2016 was held at the Centre for Computing History in Cambridge on Saturday 1 October. It hosted a small self-service 'make your own teletext art' drop-in workshop alongside the cardboard cutout of Mr T in the foyer. This is a selection of the artwork created.

For more, see this Flickr photoset.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

#BlockPartyBerlin art now available @ ARD Text

Quick, witness it in person while you still can! Art from last week’s Block Party Berlin workshop is currently available to view on actual, real life teletext over at ARD Text.

If you don’t live in Germany and/or can’t access ARD Text on your television, there’s still the handy online option here.

And if that website doesn’t load for whatever reason, here are some high resolution pictures of it in action:

What, those pictures didn’t load either? Well, that’s no problem – all art is also viewable at the Block Party Berlin Flickr album.

And if you’re reading this in the year 2093 and that link has rotted away, well… I guess you can use the power of imagination!

Friday, 6 May 2016

#BlockPartyBerlin workshop art now online!

On the evening of Tuesday 3 May, Republica Ten stood still for the teletext Block Party workshop... well, sort of. Dozens of wandering visitors came to stare in wonderment at the wall of teletext televisions that appeared overnight, marvelling at the 8-colour glitchfest that lay before them.

...But I'll go into greater detail about that soon. For the time being, here's the artwork people made for those televisions, collected in a single handy Flickr photo album for ease of reference.

Click here to see art created at #BlockPartyBerlin

Don't forget that a selection of these images will soon appear on ARD Text - we will let you know when that is happening so you can look for your favourite pieces on actual, real life teletext! Which, after all, is the true home of teletext pages.

I'd also like to thank everyone that contributed pages, technical assistance or just the odd friendly word of advice over the past month or so - each of you has helped make this Block Party every bit as exciting as the previous one in London last June.

We hope to hold another one soon, and you'll be the first to know when anything is announced.

A selection of art for your perusal:

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Republica Festival, 2-4 May 2016. Assorted teletext-centric clips.

In no particular order: Bears, teletext, music, teletext, Ed Snowden, teletext, old TVs and teletext. Alles ist gut!

Friday, 29 April 2016

Teletext Block Party II ** 3 May 2016 ** Republica Festival, Berlin

The Teletext Block Party is back for 2016, and now it’s international.

Block Party II will be held on Tuesday 3 May at Berlin’s Republica Festival, 3.00-6.00pm local time. More information can be found at the official Republica site right here.

…But I suppose I should paste an excerpt of the workshop blurb here, too!

Visitors to this workshop will find out how to make a personal teletext service to broadcast to their friends and family. They will use software to create pages with the correct specification to be shown on broadcast teletext, learn how to set up their own stand-alone teletext service with a Raspberry Pi, and share these pages via social media.

In addition, German broadcaster ARD has offered to broadcast some of the re:publica teletext artworks live on their teletext service during the conference, reaching a possible audience of up to 4 million visitors per day.
You heard that right. A selection of the best artwork created at this workshop will be broadcast on ARD Text… live.

But that’s not all!

Every single piece artwork created, be it via worksheet and felt pen or computer and teletext editor, will be posted or linked to right here at the Teletext Art Blog. Rest assured, dear bloggers, for all art will also be showcased at the Teletext Art Tumblr and Twitter.

But that’s still not all!

On the very same day, ARD will be holding their own teletext talk. It’ll be conducted entirely in German, but worry not, as there will also be plenty of pictures to marvel at.

And in case you can’t make it, I’ll provide a report on this very blog before the month of May is out.

And that’s all.

Except for this video of the first Block Party: